Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s “10th anniversary” episode features some of the newest members of the Racepoint family: Mary Alfieri, Mike Nourie and Samantha Toole. We’re very excited to have them on board to help us celebrate such a milestone achievement. Please have a listen as we discuss:
Are they becoming too complicated? Obsolete? Do you use an app to help you with passwords?
2. Kim & Kanye’s Baby
Have you been following the media circus? What do you think of Kanye’s new album?
3. Facebook Hashtags
Have you already been using them on Facebook? Was it only a matter of time? What are they good for?
4. Looking Forward to Summer 2013
What are you looking forward to most this summer?
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Engage Digital Storytelling conference in NYC on behalf of Racepoint Group’s Digital Consumer Practice. This full-day event was studded with top executives from HBO, MTV, Esquire Magazine, Facebook, Buzzfeed and many more awesomely relevant brands. While waiting for the event to begin, I met a sports publicist, a mobile developer, an entrepreneur in graphic design, and a public relations pro who had traveled all the way from Switzerland – a true representation of how digital storytelling is applicable across a web of interconnected industries all striving for brand relevance and success.
Our Digital Consumer Practice team found attending this event to be a real treat, especially considering how digital storytelling constantly comes into play for our clients. We’re always looking for new and creative ways to tell a client’s story, and creativity was definitely delivered in large doses during each session.
As I began writing this recap, I realized there was far too much interesting content from the conference to fit into just one post. As a result, this is the first post in a series on Digital Storytelling, one which highlights three distinctly unique perspectives on how technology is the new blank canvas for storytelling.
Perspective 1: Adam Berger, Creative Strategist, Facebook
Adam’s creative strategy is built around an important foundational belief – people don’t change. Sure, technology and the mediums through which we consume content are constantly evolving, but ultimately, people will remain constant in their core interests, needs and desires. From the newspaper to online content to social media, people always apply what they know from the previous medium to the next. You’ll see this in the repurposing of print articles online, and the subsequent repurposing of these posts on social media. The message really hasn’t changed, it’s just the medium. And ultimately, no matter what medium is being used, brands can’t forget that it’s about the people.
So how do we build brand identity in a world where the medium for message dissemination is changing faster than ever before? The answer: cater to the feed. Most digital content today is consumed through feeds, meaning the most effective stories will be designed as if the feed is the most important canvas of all. There are three important rules to designing a storytelling strategy for these new canvasses, which brands should pay special attention to:
Be respectful of people’s feeds. Don’t clog feeds with content that isn’t both a part of your brand narrative and useful to people.
Start with the brief, and realize that sharing is really just talking. Approach feed content as a conversation, instead of a blast of information.
Respond in real-time. Brands need to be timely and relevant every day, while providing rich, deep storytelling.
Perspective 2: Brian Ballard, CEO, APX Labs
Brian’s approach to digital storytelling is to design it with the technology of the future in mind. Over the next five years, he forecasts people will be interacting with each other in a completely different way due to an innovation you’ve probably heard of at this point: Smart Glasses.
Smart glasses such as Google Glass create a real-time digital layer that overlays information over the real world. They’re designed to be on and with you everywhere you go, meaning the story isn’t confined to the times when you’re checking your smartphone or laptop. Every time someone looks at something, a story can be told that is specifically tailored to their preferences, allowing for more immersive storytelling. For example, two people can look at the exact same thing, whether it’s a storefront or a commercial while watching TV, and see two totally different things based on what part of the story they care about most. This is a whole new level of social, where brands can choose not only how much to share, but exactly when and how quickly.
Perspective 3: Nick Hooker, Creative Director, Framestore
Most people are extremely familiar with the work of Framestore, including special and visual effects in major motion films such as Iron Man 3, Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln. The problem is no one knows they are looking at Framestore’s work. As soon as a director comes to them, the art department gets to work on establishing the DNA of the film through mind-blowing graphics. Unfortunately, the graphics are top secret and never revealed to the public. In order to lift the curtain between the audience and the awesome graphics their creative designers produce, Nick decided to embark on a bold new experiment in storytelling – giving the entire story to the audience.
In partnership with io9, Framestore started creating and progressively publishing images from the art department with zero accompanying narrative. They then asked the audience to build a narrative around the image. Framestore then selected five submissions and asked the community to select the best, from which the art department designed another image, which was posted and carried through the same process, until ultimately there was an entire story built purely by crowdsourcing and engaging the audience. Nick touts the success of this experiment and relates it to how brands can harness the innate storytelling power of their audience and take lead from them.
He provided the example of a piece of art on DeviantArt that depicted a teddy bear over a sleeping child’s head fighting off a bad dream with a sword. This image spoke to people so much and received so many shares and engagements that Hollywood bought the rights to it and will make a movie about it. This is a prime example of recognizing the mysterious connection that sometimes happens between an audience and a story from the grassroots up. Allowing an audience to steer you in the direction of what it is they really care about and then harnessing that to build a narrative creates a true, deep connection.
What is your approach to digital storytelling for your brand? What have you learned along the way?
Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s episode features a very special guest from RPG’s Hong Kong office, Emma Matuschka (coolest Kiwi in the world), Ben Haber, Nick Liberati and Ally Peebles. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Social Media During Disasters
Does social media help or hurt more during times of distress and tragedy?
Is social media too powerful in the wrong hands? What (if anything) can be done to prevent occurrences like the AP Twitter hack (and the subsequent stock market dip) from happening?
3. Google Glass
Have you tried anything like it yet? What do you think of the concept, is it inevitable that we’ll all be wearing these in a couple years? Will you be an early adopter?
4. Emma Loves Boston
What has been the best/worst part of Emma’s trip to Boston?
Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s guests include Tyler Kizner, Erin Knapp, Amanda Nadile and Carrie Weiss. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Employers asking for Facebook passwords
Do you think certain employers should be allowed to ask potential employees for passwords to access their social media accounts?
Twitter’s video service has already been used to apply for jobs, what are some other possible uses for this platform?
Have you tried this new Chrome application that lets users insert hidden messages into their Facebook photos? Does it seem useful to you, or just another gimmick?
4. Zombie Apocalypse
TV shows like The Walking Dead and upcoming movies like World War Z seem to be quite popular these days – what do you think you would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?
Please feel free to give us a shout out with questions or comments via Twitter!
Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s guests include Ashley Crutchfield, Colleen McCarthy and Lori Niquette. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Original Content
Do you subscribe? How do you feel about their original content and which devices do you watch on?
2. iPhone vs. Android
Have you recently made a switch? What features would you like to see on the Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5S? Are phones now becoming too big?
3. March Madness
Who do you have winning the NCAA men’s basketball tournament? Have you been following via an app on your smartphone? (Note: this recording is from yesterday, 3/28 – Miami was crushed last night by Marquette 71-61, once again destroying Evan’s bracket hopes and dreams…)
4. Spring has Sprung
What are you looking forward to most about Spring?
Please feel free to give us a shout out with questions or comments via Twitter!
This is a guest post by Evan Siff. Follow him on Twitter@Stairway2Evan.
While everyone is drooling over the recently released Hunger Games, I really couldn’t care less, as I have already seen it many years ago when it was called the Running Man (Katniss would never have made it past Subzero).
However, being a huge fan of Ridley Scott and the original Alien series, I absolutely can’t wait to see Prometheus on the big screen. I have watched the trailer close to 25 times and wouldn’t be surprised to find myself with the rest of the geekdom, camped out for tickets with a plush, Alien “Facehugger” pillow.
It remains to be seen whether Prometheus will be one of the best films of 2012, but in terms of marketing it has already demonstrated a great deal of media savvy with its website, teaser and viral video campaign, including:
Stunning stills from the film are being unlocked one by one via ProjectPrometheus.com, which was unveiled last weekend, and you can follow them on Twitter here. With three more months until its release (June 8), we can expect some serious hysteria among fans. Will you be going to see Prometheus this summer? What is your favorite viral marketing campaign?
Given that we’re checking Email in the middle of the night, is it really necessary for us to be checking Facebook while driving? It would appear so, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. Email, I can understand. As noted in our last post, many of us (especially us PR folk) work in industries that don’t shut down at 5:00 on Friday, and as a result, we have grown somewhat dependent on our mobile devices that allow us to stay connected to our work at almost any given time. The need to check friends’ status updates while on the road is another story.
That all said, I’m not really sure how to address this emerging trend. Texting and driving is illegal in many states, including MA, but I know many people who disregard that law regularly. And if people aren’t texting and driving, there’s a good possibility that they’re eating, doing their makeup, playing with the radio, or checking Facebook while driving. In the WSJ article, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood compares his goals to change attitudes toward distracted driving to the efforts being made to eliminate drinking and driving. While there is definitely a heightened awareness of the dangers of the latter, we hear about the consequences all too often. It’s a long, up-hill struggle, ahead.
What do you think? Is Facebooking and driving a threat? If it is, is there really anything we can do to prevent it?
Infographics are quickly becoming a media and public relations industry buzz word / topic. Why you ask? Two major reasons. As corporations continue to shift into their role as media companies and content curators, they’re realizing the opportunity to package interesting data to the media and consumers in new ways. More importantly, media organizations and editors are now focusing on finding new ways to engage their readership. Infographics happen to solve both of these problems by packaging data in a way that makes it both engaging and easy to read.
A few weeks ago I sat down with Sam Whitmore of Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey for Racepoint Group’s video newsletter to discuss how brands and agencies can leverage infographics and why they’re becoming the “new slide shows” for media outlets desperate for engaging content. While Sam cautioned that infographics aren’t B-roll (most media outlets like to play a role in building them), he did pass along some interesting insight into how PR practitioners and marketers can leverage the media’s interest in this new category of content.
For more insight on infographics, along with the latest news and trends in marketing, PR and communications in the technology space subscribe to Racepoint’s “The Point: Tech Edition.
Last year at Fortune’s Brainstorm: Tech I watched News Corp. digital czar Jon Miller talk almost glowing of the new talent News Corp. was bringing into MySpace. It was just two months after the hiring of Facebook’s Owen Van Natta as CEO and without mentioning him by name, Miller appeared to lay out the case for why Van Natta was the man to lead MySpace forward:
“You can’t do everything and you can’t do it all yourself. You have to look outside in addition to within. You must be focused. We are focused on music, games and video. You can’t play catch-up. It requires a top-to-bottom (culture) shift. Part of the idea of bringing in the new team was to make this shift. We’re going to make a culture that is product focused, entrepreneurial and dedicated to continued innovation.”
However, maybe it was telling that Miller refereed to “them” as a team and not Van Natta as the lone savior. Because now, only 6 months later, Van Natta is out of a job and MySpace COO, Mike Jones, and chief product officer, Jason Hirschhorn (both handpicked for the “team” by Miller) appear to be at the helm of a still-teetering ship.
Kara Swisher of All Things Digital (a News Corp owned publication)reports that contrary to public statements, Miller fired Van Natta after all day meetings on Wednesday. In his internal memo to staffers, first picked-up by PaidCotent (in-full below), Miller noted that Van Natta was “stepping down,” while praising the efforts of Jones and Hirschhorn.
He did however, give some credit to Van Natta for a slight revival for MySpace, noting “We added over 1.5 million users and grew significantly in time spent last month – as a result of many of his efforts.”
So why the abrupt exit if they were headed in the right direction? One obvious reason is that Rupert Murdoch is still not happy where MySpace is. He publicly noted in a recent earnings call that “It’s (MySpace) not where we want it.” During that same call, the company highlighted that its digital media group dropped $32 million from a year earlier – largely due to marketers moving away from MySpace and into Facebook. But what can they do with it at this point?
The new team’s vision appeared to be focused on music and gaming. MySpace still has the in into Hollywood and New York. But with shrinking traffic, can they build subscription services into the mix? There have been rumors about a music subscription service but nothing has been announced publicly. Without that, the site appears to be a niche site that won’t be a revenue maker for the company. Could they on-load it? Maybe a Russian investor like Digital Sky Technologies (investor in Facebook) would be interested speculate media insiders, but I’m not sure what other appetite is out there for MySpace in its current state.
But perhaps the bigger question is where will Van Natta end up? Perhaps, Twitter?
Today we announced that Owen Van Natta is stepping down as MySpace’s CEO. Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn, who have each done a great job from both an operational and product perspective, are being elevated to co-Presidents and will assume Owen’s responsibilities. While this may be a surprising turn of events for some of you, I am absolutely confident that this change is best for all parties involved and – most importantly – the MySpace business. Owen took on an incredible challenge in assuming leadership of MySpace during a difficult period. He has worked to refocus and revitalize the company, and I believe MySpace is pointed in the right direction and gaining valuable momentum – we added over 1.5 million users and grew significantly in time spent last month – as a result of many of his efforts. However, in discussing with Owen his priorities for the future both personally and professionally, we both agreed that it was best that he step down at this time. I am grateful to Owen for his hard work, and I ask that you join me in wishing him well in the future. His departure is effective immediately, as are the appointments of both Mike and Jason.
I will leave it to Mike and Jason to communicate to all of you their excitement about the future and their priorities for the business going forward, but I would like to express my confidence in their ability to lead MySpace into this new and promising chapter. Since joining in April, their efforts on both the operational and product development fronts have been vital to our recent progress.
Thank you all for your continued hard work, and please join me in congratulating Mike and Jason on their new roles, and in wishing Owen all the best in the future.
Office of Jonathan Miller
Chairman & CEO, News Corp. Digital Media Group
Chief Digital Officer, News Corporation
Over the past few months Racetalk has discussed the ways Senators John McCain and Barack Obama have used social media to get their messages out, – read here, here and here. Today, Reuters announced that Barack Obama is once again using a new medium to reach voters – this time through online video gaming.
While advertising in games has been popular for a few years now, Obama is the first Presidential candidate to buy ad space in video games. Obama is using the Internet ads to target specific voters – 18-34 year-old males who are hard to reach through traditional advertising because they spend less time watching TV and reading. The in-game banners and billboards will be used to help expand the reach of VoteforChange.com so that more people can register to vote, obtain absentee voter information or find an early voting location.
According to the article, Obama’s advertising will be featured in 18 popular online games through the Xbox Live service including “Guitar Hero 3“, “NBA Live 08” and “NFL Tour” and are targeted to 10 key battleground states where early voting is available. The ads will be targeted at gamers in particular geographical areas though the IP addresses registered with their Internet service provider when they log on to Xbox Live.
No word was mentioned on how much Obama spent on the ads, and it remains to be seen whether the ads will be effective, but it’s clear that Obama has his pulse on how to reach young voters, and that’s something that McCain still struggles with.